From the 17th century lady to the 21st woman, the borders of femininity and womanhood in the English – speaking world have evolved and have been reconfigured. In the last forty years, scholarly work on issues of gender has become more and more widespread, in a wide variety of disciplines (history, literature, linguistics, psychology…). The ways in which the concepts of male and female have been defined and used in research have changed with the emergence and development of women’s studies and gender studies (Kristeva 1982, Butler 1990, Halberstam 1998). While the critical relevance of the polarity of these concepts has been called into question, they are still widely seen as necessary for their ability to show the importance of demarcations of gender in various lines of inquiry (Korte & Lethbridge 2018), including when questions of gender rebellion and porosity of gender boundaries arise (Adams & DeLuzio 2012). To honour International Women’s Day 2019, we welcome contributions addressing the question of how femininity and womanhood have been defined, represented and explored in Anglophone literature, linguistics and history, spanning from the Early Modern period to the contemporary world. The question raises issues related to the limits and boundaries of gender, in the way these affect women in their physical world and in their representations of self as women: bodies constrained and restrained, behaviours prescribed and defied, (un)bridgeable frontiers dividing countries, regions, ethnic origins, age or class and their interaction with gender… (Pickering & Cochrane 2013). We encourage PhD students, post – graduate students, and early career researchers to submit an abstract. Scholars whose research intersects with the study of gender norms and transgression or the specificities of female experiences of borders, be they geographical, social, and racial, are particularly welcome.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
– Representations of femininity: transgression, idealisation and normalisation
– Representations of female bodies: how have they been defined by experts, scientists and other “moral entrepreneurs” (Becker 1963)? Who are these entrepreneurs? Who sets the norm? How can these norms be called into question, defied and erased? And how do transgressions come to be normalised?
– Physical boundaries of femininity: female bodies performed, constrained, freed
– Gender and genre: resisting the gender binary in literature, stage performance and gender performance (West & Zimmerman 1987), reverse-gender casting, female travelogues …
– Intersectional feminism (Crenshaw 1989): the part played by race, ethnicity, class, age, disability, &c. into the construct ion of femininity and the borders erected around such a normative experience
– Liminal spaces: experiences of border crossings, whether they be physical, geographical, social and related to the frontier between masculinity and femininity
– Language and resistance to gender boundaries
– Frontiers and feminist scholarship (Frontiers, a Journal of Women’s Studies)
We invite abstracts in English of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers. Please submit your abstract along with a short biographical notice to Irène Delcourt (CENA, email@example.com), Lucy- Anne Katgely (SEARCH, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Juliette Misset (SEARCH, email@example.com) by January 20, 2019. Papers will be given in English.